Boutier hangs on to claim first U.S. win at the ANNIKA Invitational
Chen comes within two to earn runner-up honors at Reunion Resort
REUNION, Fla. — Céline Boutier of Montrouge, France, walked away from the ANNIKA Invitational with her first U.S. win in only her second AJGA tournament. Boutier's second-round 66 proved to be paramount in securing the victory.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the ANNIKA Invitational was a 54-hole stroke play event held at Reunion Resort, home of the ANNIKA Academy. The girls-only field played the par-72 Independence (Watson) Course at 6,275 yards. The 72-player field featured 25 Rolex Junior All-Americans and players from 15 states and 12 foreign countries.
Boutier's second-round showing put her ahead by four strokes going into the last 18 holes of play. After a final-round front nine that included four consecutive bogeys, Boutier knew she had to refocus in order to conquer a windy back nine.
“I was very nervous because it was the last day,” said Boutier. “The first nine was very hard but I tried to do my best and after I parred No. 9, I did better on the back.”
An even-par performance on the final nine holes kept Boutier ahead of charging competitors. After a stray tee shot on No. 17, an eight-foot par putt completed a tough up-and-down giving her enough momentum going into the final hole to claim the victory.
“There was a lot of pressure playing in the U.S. against golfers I've never competed with before,” Boutier said. “It feels good to win and be here with Annika.”
Doris Chen of Bradenton, Fla., came within two shots but would get no closer, finishing alone in second place with a 1-under-par 215 tournament total. Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., and Aurora Kan of Boothwyn, Pa., share a tie for second after posting even-par 216s, while Lake Oswego, Ore., resident Kendall Prince rounded out the top five with a tournament total of 1-over-par 217.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 400 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
For more information regarding the ANNIKA Invitational, contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.
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